Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Garth Brooks gigs ruling condemned

Garth Brooks visited Croke Park stadium in Dublin early this year to announce his plans for the summer gigs

The cancellation of all five of Garth Brooks's controversial concerts in Dublin would cost the city economy as much as 15 million euro (£11.8 million), publicans have warned.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) insisted that price is too much, as it responded to the furore that has erupted over the refusal of city chiefs to allow two concerts by the country music superstar to go ahead at Croke Park this month amid concern over the impact on nearby residents.

An estimated 160,000 fans have been left devastated after Dublin City Council granted permission for only three out of five gigs at Croke Park this month.

But a question mark also hangs over the remaining three concerts after Brooks made clear it was "five or none".

The promoters of the concerts are due to announce a decision on the fate of the series early this week.

The LVA has written to the council urging a rethink on its restriction.

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said the city's publicans are "appalled" at the turn of events.

"This is still a very difficult economy for every business in the city and the Garth Brooks concerts promised a hugely significant financial boost for pubs and for the wider hospitality industry," he said.

"Our members need clarity on this as a matter of urgency."

The unprecedented run of gigs was expected to draw die-hard fans of the biggest-selling singer in country music history from throughout Ireland, UK, Europe, North America and Australia.

Brooks turned his back on touring to raise his family in Oklahoma 13 years ago and his comeback sent ripples throughout his worldwide fan base. It has also fuelled fevered rumours of a global tour.

But in a ruling - which cannot be directly appealed but may be open to challenge in the courts - Dublin City Council said a five-night run at Croke Park would cause unacceptable disruption to residents and traders around the stadium.

Licences were granted for three nights only, on July 25, 26 and 27.

Residents had threatened legal action over the series of gigs after an initially announced two-night run was extended to five.

Croke Park is owned by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

A residents group from the Croke Park area has called for a long term enforceable agreement between the venue and the local community.